Ok, wow, new story. I'll be honest with you all, I've actually had this story planned for awhile. But constant new ideas, low confidence in my ability to do it well, and general laziness kept it from being written until now. But regardless of all that, it's here now. Here's hoping you all enjoy it.
Before we begin though, I'd like to give a BIG "Thank you" to Moondelta for helping me out with this story. Seriously, without her this story may have never gotten off the ground.
You ever have one of those days? You know, where random things just happen to you, be they good or bad, and you have no idea what's going on or what'll happen next? Usually, I welcome those days, if only because they break up the monotony that is my life. Now though... eh, not so much.
For some reason that even now still eludes me, I'm sitting on my butt in what appears to be a courtroom. Only, there's no doors, no jury bench, nothing except where the judge sits, and some kind of podium a few feet in front of said judge's chair. As it is, I'm sitting up against the front of the podium, watching two girls in a heated discussion, over me apparently. Now that may sound all fine and dandy to some of you, but it's really not. The one with green hair (yeah, green. The hell?) looks absolutely livid over my being... wherever the hell 'here' is apparently, since she keeps pointing at me when she starts going again. The second girl, one in the really out of place purple dress with blonde hair, seems to keep saying things that only serve to get the first girl even more angry. Add in the headache from my landing, and you can see why I'm not too happy.
Then there's all these weird things I'm seeing all over the place. What the hell, man?
I mean, seriously. All I was doing before now was just sitting in my room, watching a pirated copy of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and pigging out on pizza rolls and a two liter of cream soda. Hey, I'm a slacker who just got fired from his part time job at a pizza place, lay off. So there I was watching Scott go against the second of the exes, when the next thing I know I appear to be sinking in my seat really fast. Before I can even really register that, my chin hits my desk, knocking me backwards. You can imagine my surprise when through the spinning stars I make out some kind of hole in the floor, held at the end with a ribbon of all things, and inside the hole appear to be... eyes? What the hell, what is this, something out of the freaking Twilight Zone?
Before I can finish up my freaking out over the eyes I go through the hole, and end up in the air. Like, "with the clouds" in the air. The blow to the chin must have rattled my poor brain, because it took me a few seconds to even realize that fact. People may have had dreams before about flying in the sky like Superman. Me, my first thought was a calm, collected wondering of what was going on.
"What the flame-farting hell? !"
...Ok, not that calm and collected.
Then gravity decided to take mercy on me, and bring me down to earth. Which was just fine by me. I wasn't worried about landing or anything. I mean, whatever it was that brought me here and put me in the sky would have some way of letting me land safely, right? I just wanted out of the air. So I just let myself fall. Until I noticed that I kept on picking up speed, and that ground appeared to be getting closer and closer with nothing to keep me from hitting it. And it stayed like that, until I met with said ground. At least, I think I met with it. I kind of closed my eyes at the last minute, felt a thud, and then woke up here with a headache.
"-pletely irresponsible, Yakumo! I've overlooked most of what you've done up until now, but this-!"
"Oh, don't worry. There are plenty of dangerous people in Gensoukyou, and it hasn't blown up yet. Why should this boy be any different?"
"I'm not quite sure Yakumo, though it could be what it was that you gave him! You think that could be it? !"
Great, and to top it all off, they're talking in some language I can't understand. Can this day get any better? On second thought, I shouldn't ask that. Movies have taught me what happens when things like that are asked.
"Oh, come now dear, no need to be all sarcastic. It's not that bad, which is why I was planning on just letting him run around, see what he does. Just a harmless little experiment."
…! Jesus, what the hell? ! The green angry just cold-cocked the one in the purple dress! With a backhand, even! I have no idea what she said, but it appears to have massively pissed off Greeny! …Er, maybe I shouldn't call her that, even in my mind. It's more than likely a bad idea, with Purple-Dress Lady pulling herself out of a wall with difficulty being my proof.
"Ugh... my my, Yama-sama, letting your temper get the better of you like that. And you're supposed to be the calm judge of souls. Look, you're frightening our guest." Not quite sure, but it looks like PLD is taunting the green-haired one. Why else would she be smiling after getting wacked like that? Is that really smart? I mean, she DID just knock PDL through a wall. On that note, how the hell is she still alive, let alone awake and walking?
"Don't you DARE try to act that way with ME, Yakumo Yukari. Do you know or even care about the threat this boy poses thanks to your damn meddling?"
"Cursing now? Not very ladylike, Yama-sama..."
"Last warning, Yakumo, do NOT toy with me!" The small girl hisses
Wait, now I'm curious. Did the purple-dress chick say 'sama'? Isn't that a Japanese honorific? Well, that explains what language they're speaking. And Gre- er, the green-haired girl called the purple-dress chick 'Yukari.' So, I at least know her name. And the first one was called 'Yama-sama'. If I remember my honorifics right (thank you manga!) then she must be pretty import-
… Wait a minute. 'Yama'? Isn't that supposed to be a judge of hell or something? Oh, son of a...
"And you! Pay attention, don't think you're getting out of this! You're just as much a part of this problem as she is, do you understand me?"
Sorry, greeny, can't hear you over the sound of my broken skull from your damn little tablet thingy smashing it. Not like I can understand you anyways. Cripes, can I get subtitles here? Or at least someone that speaks freaking English? Ohh, wait, how about my cell phone ringing, waking me up and letting me discover this was all a dream? Yeah, I'd like to go with option three.
*THWACK* AGAIN WITH THE HITTING AND THE TABLET AND THE OW.
"Pay attention!" she yells at me again.
"Speak English, dammit! If you're going to yell at me at least do it in a language I understand!" I snap back. Even if she IS some Hell Judge, I'm not going to take this shit while I can't understand her!
Taking a few seconds to calm down, I finally take a good look at the short girl. Green hair with a ponytail on the side of her head, under some strange looking hat with frills at the bottom and a gold tablet one the front, with a white and red ribbon on the left and right side respectively. A blue vest-like shirt with gold emblems on the shoulder over a long sleeved white shirt, with a white ribbon tied halfway down on the left sleeve with a red ribbon on the right side the same distance down. and her belt was white on the left and red on the white.
Wonder if there's a message there...
Going on, next was a black miniskirt which was threaded at the bottom with a ribbon. Again, white on the left and red on the right that come together at the front of the skirt to be tied into a bow. Further down were short frilly socks and black shoes which where tied with a ribbon again. Red facing the inside, white facing the outside. Yeah, definite message there. And let's not forget the gold tablet thing in her hand that was just so very intimate with my skull just now. Can't forget that if I tried, though I'm sure if she hit me one more time...
Greeny stares at me for a few seconds before turning to the chick in purple. Who I've just now noticed is blonde, wearing some strange hat an carrying a purple umbrella. Maybe it was the raps to the head, but I'm not too sure. I'm broken from my thoughts when Greeny starts talking again. "You didn't give him the ability to speak our language? And you were just going to let him wander about Gensoukyou like that? Yakumo, you surprise me with your carelessness."
"Oh my, I was just about to, but then you decided to whisk us away to your courtroom. You haven't even offered us tea. Taking people away without warning, not providing for your guests... so very rude." the blonde retorts. Seriously, could someone PLEASE translate here?
"You're the last person to get on me about manners!" Oh jeez, Greeny's yelling again. Somehow I don't think I like this Yukari chick all that much. She seems to be getting off on pissing people off. I'm not the best on social behavior, but even I know not to- why is Greeny pointing her tablet at me? Why is it moving closer, what is she going to OH GOD IT'S ENTERING MY FACE SHE'S KILLING-!
...What the hell? The tablet is gone. Frantically my hands fly to my face, feeling for a wound or a bruise or something. There's nothing, nothing but flesh and sweat. A discreet look at my pants assures me that I miraculously didn't piss myself from the fear of having that thing enter my face. How the hell did that happen anyways? Why'd she do it, and why isn't there a trace of it?
"Can you understand me now?"
Blinking, I look up at Greeny again, holding her rod in one hand while the top rests in the palm of the other, a neutral look on her face. No blood on the tablet, but the surprise came in the form of me actually understanding the words she said. The hell? Realizing she's waiting for an answer, I nod quickly. No point in her stabbing my face again.
"Good, then you can answer some questions. First, your name?"
"Yeah, sure, not like it's good manners to give your name first." I grumble irritably. Speaking a little louder, I told her my name. "Jay. My turn for a questions. Who are you, who's she, where are we, and why the HELL am I even here to begin with? And what's with all these weird things I'm seeing?"
Yeah, guess I should have mentioned that earlier, but I was little more preoccupied with being utterly confused. Everywhere I look are these strange lines, like someone took a marker and just drew them at random. the lines aren't that thick, but they're enough to be noticeable. And just looking at them is enough to make my head hurt more. There's even some there on these two girls, though they're clearer on the chick in purple, and even then I have to focus really hard, they're so faint. Hell, if I look at her arm, I can't see the lines at all when she moves said arm.
The green-haired chick narrows her eyes, a frown now forming on her face. "Hm, at least you asked some of the right questions." she utters, starting to tap the tablet into her palm lightly. "In order, I am Shikieiki Yamaxanadu, and-"
"That's a long-ass name," I quip, only to flinch when she levels the tablet at my face again.
"Don't interrupt." She scolds me before resuming tapping the tablet in her and. "Also, if you must know, Yamaxanadu isn't part of my name. It's my title as the judge of the dead here in Gensoukyou. My name is actually Shiki Eiki. You DO know how Japanese names work, don't you?" After my nod, she continued. "Over there is the person responsible for your being transported here, Yakumo Yukari."
"To be fair," The lady known as Yukari calls out. "I transported you to a meadow. She transported us here to her courtroom. You remember the meadow, right~?"
"Wait, so you were responsible for my little sudden flight lesson? ! What the hell, what if I broke my neck from the fall? !" I shout at her. Only, I get more irritated when she pulls out a fan, of all things, hiding her mouth behind it while she giggles.
"Silly, there's no way that I would have let that happen." At that, my anger dissipates somewhat. "It's why I chose a meadow with such soft grass to cushion your fall." Well, hello again Anger, back again so soon?
"Moving on," Shikieki speaks up over the two of us. "As to why you're here, Yukari wanted to try a little 'experiment'. So she grabbed a random human- you- and brought you here. This experiment also has something to do with your eyes." Oh, why do I have the feeling that this isn't that good? "Tell me something though. These lines... can you see them on Yakumo and I?"
Blinking in confusion for a second, I answer. "Well, kinda. But they're really blurry and all. Even more so on you than her." Where is she going with this?
"Hmm, good. They're still somewhat weak." Shikieiki murmurs to herself, now tapping her tablet against her bottom lip with a thoughtful expression on her face. It's actually kind of cute on her. Probably shouldn't tell her that though. "I'll be honest with you Jay, those lines aren't good. What those lines are... they're death."
... Wait, what? Apparently taking my shock-induced silence as a sign to go on, Shikieiki does.
"To be more precise, what you're seeing is the 'lines upon which all things die easily'. If you put something into those lines and trace them, the object will fall apart. I'll give you the nuances about the eyes later. Moving on..."
Whoa whoa whoa whoa, what the blueberry fuck muffins is this shit? "'Lines of death'? What kind of jacked-up crap are you talking about, there's no way that those lines equal death! I mean, how can I kill a wall by tracing a line? It doesn't make any sense! And why can I see them so clearly on the walls and podium and even Blondie's umbrella and not on you two?" I question, ignoring said blonde's little pout she had at my words.
Shikieki sighed before focusing on me again. "To be precise, all things experience death. For example, when you break a boulder, it's no longer a 'boulder'. It becomes 'rocks'. Do you follow me?" At my hesitant confirmation she goes on. "Not everything can be traced easily, if at all though. Let's use Yakumo and myself for this. In order to trace our 'lines' you must first be able to comprehend us. Rather, you can't see my lines clearly because you can't comprehend not only my existence as a judge of the dead but you can't even comprehend my power as well. Do not mistake of thinking that 'knowing' what or who I am as 'comprehending' what and who I am. That is the first weakness of your eyes by the way. Keep that in mind.
As you learn and comprehend different existences, ideas, and even more things, the lines on those things will become more clear. Just be warned that what your view is on a particular thing, say immortality, does NOT mean that you truly comprehend things. As a mortal, you are not infallible, which means that your thoughts on things are not always right. Remember that."
Ok, when she puts it like that, I can understand just a bit better. Still, seeing these lines are a major problem for me. I mean, being able to potentially kill most, if not everything? Not my idea of fun, no way ma'am. It seems that she's not quite done yet though, so I push my thoughts to the back of my mind to go over later, and give my attention back to the judge of the dead.
"Also, these lines... since they are, for all intents and purposes, an object's 'fated destruction', there is no real protection. Armor, magic, barriers... None of these will stop you from 'killing' an object or person. But there are downsides to this. You've been having headaches since you woke up, haven't you?" She doesn't even wait for my nod. "That's from your brain straining to see death. The mortal mind is not meant to understand, or even see death, especially all the time. But as long as you don't strain yourself too much, like trying to see the lines of an object or person you can't comprehend, the strain will be minimal. Push it too far, and your brain will explode from the strain."
I love it when my bad feelings are right. So basically, I run the risk of my brain going 'POP' if I try to look at something I'm not ready to see yet? Great, and I thought seeing death was the worst news I would get today. Man, I figured that if I ever got a power it'd be heat vision or super speed. Heck, I'd even take a rubber body over this! ... On second thought, I'll pass on that last one. That damn manga ruined that power for me forever.
"Are you listening to me?" I turn back to Shikieiki who looks a little miffed at my going into private thoughts.
"No, because it's just really smart to ignore the chick that's telling me I've just become a damn grim reaper. Lord knows it's not the stupidest thing I've ever thought of doing!" It's actually right behind sliding down a mountain pass on a garbage can lid. Man I was drunk...
"There's no reason to get smart with me, young man." Shikieiki scolds me. Wait, young man? This girl looks younger than me, how the hell does she get off calling me young- oh wait, judge of the dead. Right. It makes sense now. "Now, I'll go over the rest of the information about your eyes later, or at least get you some notes on it. First, you must make a choice."
Well, hello Mr. Bad Feeling! What's that, you want a second round? Well, why not, it can't make things any worse, right?
"How badly do you want to live?" ... Ok, you know what? It was funny at first, but seriously Mr. Bad Feeling, you need to cut this shit out. "You have two choices. The first is that I kill you, right here and now."
"Wait, hold on. Why the FUCK- ow! Hey, watch it! Don't hit me with that thing!" I snap, rubbing the spot on my stomach where she poked me with that tablet. Cripes, it's like getting kicked by horse, it hurts that much!
"Watch your mouth when you're speaking to me, or I'll make your choice for you right here and now." Shikieiki warns me in a cold voice. Gulping, I nod in the affirmative, still holding my stomach. Picking my words a bit more carefully in my mind, I try again.
"Ok, why would you need to kill me? I mean, couldn't you just take these lines seeing ability thing and just be done with it?"
"I'm not allowed to take away abilities. A Yama I may be, but I cannot simply take away something like that. All mortals have the capability to awaken this part, some more than others. But few ever wake up this ability. Very specific conditions have to be met, the first of which is dying and then coming back to life while being fully aware of your death and what it entailed. You experienced this once, did you not?"
I nod slowly. Like I said. I was really drunk. Apparently I died for a few seconds before I was revived by one of my buddies performing CPR. I really don't want to go through that experience ever again.
Shikieiki nods, continuing to talk. "Furthermore, you have to have a certain potential in your eyes to see the lines. Everyone may have the ability in their mind, but the eyes and mind have to be able to work together in seeing the lines. It's a little difficult to explain. Just leave it that you're one of the unlucky few."
Amen Sister. "That still doesn't explain the whole 'killing me' thing, though." I point out.
Shikieiki turns from me and starts walking to the judges seat. "This world, Gensoukyou, is a world separated from the outside world. Here, all manner of beings coexist. Humans, Youkai, vampires, even mortal-bodied gods. You're ability to kill all things, as it grows more powerful, could even cut away the barrier that this world separate from the Outside world, or even destroy the world itself. Sage and Guardian of Gensoukyou Yakumo here might be, I cannot condone her foolish decision to let you wander about unwatched. And I cannot trust even the Watcher of the Barrier, the Hakurei Miko, to watch over such a dangerous power. No, I cannot trust any being who is swayed so easily by emotions and the greed for such power to be held by just any mortal, youkai or god. Which leads me to present option two to you."
Jesus, when she puts it like that... But is this power really that great? I mean, what if I just refuse to trace the lines? Couldn't I live if I promised that? I pose that question to the judge, who's now sitting in her chair. Her shaking her head makes my heart drop.
"That is another unfortunate side effect of the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception." Oh, so that's what they're called. Wow, what a jolly name! "Since the human mind isn't meant to see death, doing so could cause you to lose your sanity. At which point, you could either gouge out your eyes, kill yourself, or become an insane murderer who could kill all things."
Fun, great, and fan-freaking-tastic. This day gets better and better. Bowing my head, I motion for her to continue.
"The second choice is this. You become my servant. My... personal problem solver." Oh that does NOT sound like what I think it sounds like. "To be blunt, sometimes a problem arises in which I can't really let the Hakurei Miko or anyone else take care of. However, as the Judge of the Dead, I'm forbidden to take action myself. So you'd take various jobs up when I order you to. From delivering a message, to full-out assassinations."
I... can't even form a sarcastic comment at this point. Those are my choices? Become a errand boy slash hit-man or become a corpse? Sure, dying's bad, but me killing someone...? I can't even fathom that. I mean, I'm a wimp. Spent most my life getting teased and bullied. I have no fighting experience, I weigh about a hundred-twenty pounds sopping wet with my clothes on, and this chick wants me to become a killer? So I'm basically given a 'kill or be killed' dilemma?
Not an easy choice.
Can I really do it?
Could I kill someone?
I don't know. But I do know...
I don't want to die.
And so, I speak up. "I'll... take the second choice." On the bright side, I probably won't get called in to kill anyone for awhile, right? I mean, how often would something like that come up? Still, I should probably tell her... "Just, I don't know how to fight. Is that ok?"
Shikieiki waves her hand. "There are plenty of people in Gensoukyou who can help you there. At the very least, though, I should do something about your eyes. I can't take them away, but-"
The next thing I know, there's something in my eyes. I'm not quite sure what they were, but before they hit me I managed to see that they looked like her tablets. That's the furthest thing from my mind right now though. Right now, the thing I'm worried about is...
"Auuugghh! Ah, rrrrggghh ow! Guh, what the hell did you do?" I cry out, rolling around on the floor clutching my eyes. As you can tell, that's what I was more concerned about: the burning pain in my eyes. Yeah, it freaking hurts. A LOT. I didn't even notice that whatever she had thrown into my eyes had sunk into them, disappearing.
"I can, however, alter them a little." Shikieiki finishes up. After a few more more agonizing seconds, the pain finally cleared enough for me to slowly stand up. Blinking away the tears that had formed, I noticed that the lines had vanished. But, I thought that she couldn't- "They haven't been taken away. I've simply given you the ability to turn them on and off, that's all. Sadly, that's still not good enough to let you go by yourself." Huh, get one question answered, get a second one free. Not a bad deal, I must say.
"Well now, that's pretty nifty." Yukari spoke up, making me jump. I had forgotten that she was even here! Cripes, hope she's not a ninja or something. "I may have to hire you for a job sometime."
"Yakumo Yukari." Uh-oh, something bad is about to happen. The room just got ice cold, and it feels like something is trying to crush me. Thank you manga, for helping me know what killing intent is, but it does nothing for preparing one for it. Still, I can't help but notice that it's not like I imagined, and that I'm not getting the full thing. Yukari, on the other hand, is on her hands and knees, and she's gone pale. "Do not dare try and do such a thing. Should you do so, know that your very existence will be forfeit by my hands. I will show no forgiveness. Do I make myself clear?" With that, the pressure was gone, and I made another mental note not to piss off my new boss.
Yukari stands up, albeit shakily, before simply waving her hand. And... creates some kind of hole in the air. An oddly familiar hole. One tied at the ends with ribbons, and full of eyes...
OH YOU LOUSY-!
Before I can finish my thought, she steps through the hole and is gone, the strange eye-hole closing after her. I have no idea what the hell that was, but I'm now almost entirely sure that I don't like that woman. At all. And I plan on keeping it that way for a good long time. Mentally shaking my head, I urn back to the green-haired girl in the judge's seat. "So what now, boss?"
"First off, Shikieiki-sama, Yama-sama, or Shiki-sama. Call me one of those things." Ok, check. "Secondly, I'll send you to the home of someone in the human village who can help you settle in for now. As it is, I'm going to wait until you can find someone to help you learn to fight before I contact you again. I highly recommend finding someone to introduce you to the Hakurei miko as soon as you can, though. She will explain exactly how things work here in Gensoukyou. Any questions?"
I think for a minute before coming up with something. "Yeah, what if I need to get hold of you? How do I do that?"
Shikieiki nods at me, apparently happy that I asked that question or something, I don't know. "Find my subordinate, Onozuka Komachi. She'll help get a message to me. Just a bit of a warning, you may have to kick her awake. Tell her you have my permission. Girl needs to learn to quit lazing around on the job." she tells me, muttering the last part under her breath. I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Shiki-sama's not happy with a lazy worker. Food for thought, methinks.
"Now then, since we're done, I'll send you on your way. I have a lot of work to do, and because of this I'm behind."
I snap off a salute, a smirk on my face. "Aye, aye, boss!"
Okay, teasing my boss... not smart. Also, she's got really good aim with that tablet of hers. She nailed me right between the eyes. All of this flashes through my head as I fall backwards, going though some black hole in space, and then I'm falling. The last thing I see before hitting the ground and everything fading away is a figure with purple hair and a red skirt.
So there we go, chapter one. Don't worry, I've already got plenty in store to keep him from being over-powered. That was actually one of the main problems, was keeping him from becoming so. Also, before anyone asks, I'm going to go ahead and make this a multi-pairing fic, though nothing on the level of Keys to the Heart by Wrathkal (damn good story, by the way.) The girls have already been chosen, numbering three in total. MAYBE four, if Moondelta can talk me into it.
But enough about that. Who wants to guess who the person at the end of this story is?